The way you define yourself in terms of your group membership.
Ex: You meet someone who also goes to UC Davis in a faraway town and this builds a sense of closeness and unity even if this is the first time you meet.
Why do we have a collective self?
Group living is a critical feature in human evolution.
Humans who were able to adapt to group living were at a distinct evolutionary advantage because they had each others support and help.
Ex: Help at succeeding at a task like lifting a log.
We developed an ability to think of the self in terms of the group and go along with the majority.
Groups Satisfy what?
The Basic needs.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
First to explore the idea of the collective self.
German sociologist who wrote about the collective or common conscious
First to put forward the idea that we think of ourselves as a member of a collective.
Believed in collective form of self-representation
2nd to explore the idea of the collective self
He came up with the idea of group mind.
Crowds(or group of individuals) sometimes appear to have their own traits, values, and behaviors that emerge only in the group context.
They may be quite different from the believes of the individual group member.
3rd to study the collective self
He was a Holocaust survivor.
Interested in understanding prejudice and intergroup discrimination
His work was based on seminal work on categorical perception
developed social identity theory
Category Accentuation Effect
By Tajfel and Wilkes (1963)
Subjects were asked to estimate the distance btwn the two lines with the arrows. (ppl usually said like 3mm)
Then once the subjects saw that one line belonged to group A and the other to Group B the differences btwn the two lines were exaggerated (ppl would say like 6mm)
Differences would be exaggerated because wanted to make a large distinction btwn the two groups.
Usually differences within categories are minimized.
Effect tends to be stronger when people are uncertain.
Ex: A person was not sure if he had met the professor so he just assumed she was one of the professors from UCSB because their are very few woman of color in psychology.
People were shown one line at a time and asked what color the L and the 8 appeared to them.
Even though they are both the same color people said that the L looked more red because it is in a group with primary red letters and that the 8 looked more purple because it is a group with purple numbers.
Self-descriptions that differentiate the individual from other members of his or her social group. The thing that makes that person unique.
Social Identity Theory
That part of an individuals self-concept which comes from his membership to a certain social group. You use the group to define who you are, but only groups with high value or emotional significance.
Can be divided into ingroups(groups you belong in) and outgroups(groups you don't belong to)
Just the knowledge of belonging to two distinct groups is enough to trigger intragroup discrimination.
Can occur even when differences between the two groups are minimal.
Robber's Cave Experiment
Wanted to trace the formation of intergroup attitudes in newly formed groups with no prior history to one another.
22 eleven year old boys were brought in and separated into Eagles and Rattlers
1) Group formation in which they got to know one another and did team building games in order to get comfortable with one another
2) Intergroup Competition in which competitions where set up btwn the two teams
3)Superordinate Goals in which the goal was to reunite both teams and stop the hostility btwn them.
What were the lessons learned from the Robber's Cave Study?
Groups can be formed very easily and this can create conflict (fights)
Realistic conflict can lead to hostile attitudes and derogatory stereotypes
Intragroup hostility can cause ingroup solidarity (the more the eagles and rattlers fought the closer the groups came to their in group)
Two sides can't just be brought together to end hostility. They have to work together towards a certain goal and when goal is achieved they will actually like each other and accept each other more.
Principles of Social Identity Theory
Positive social identity is based to a large extent on positive comparisons that can be
made between your in-group and some relevant out-groups: your in-group must be perceived as positively
different or distinct from the relevant out-groups. (Ex: Everyone thinks their own sorority is better and finds reasons for that)
When social identity is unsatisfactory, individuals will strive either to leave their existing group and join some more positively distinct group and/or to make their existing group more positively distinct (basically they know their group is not the best so they will try to find something else they are very good at).
Ex: Soccer team doesn't score most goals but has the best colors
Does Positive Distinctiveness come at a cost?
Yes because people will do anything to come up on top and be different (in a better way) than the other team
Ex: In the allocation task the in group will prefer to get $12 and the other team $11 rather than $19 because then the other team would get $25 and they would have more and that is not acceptable. Even though they will be losing $7 they prefer that than the other team having more money.
The Minimal Group Paradigm
In this study people were placed on categories based on trivial things.
4-5 subjects at a time.
No face to face interaction btwn the subjects
No benefit to the self when giving a response.
First Task: Ppl were asked to choose which painting they like better and were placed in the category with other people that like the same painting.
Second Task: Choose which group they would like to give money to with no benefit to the self.
Participants usually decide to give more money to the group they are in even if it means losing a couple of dollars but as long as their group gets more.
like strongly dislike
Benefits and Costs of being a Group Member
Black sheep effect
Optimal Distinctiveness Theory
Two fundamental human needs:
Assimilation (ingroup inclusion)
Differentiation (distinctiveness from others)
(Membership in a group allows us to meet both needs simultaneously.)
Ex: being a UC Davis student.
It brings to mind all the similarities you have with other UC Davis students but also the differences btwn yourself and other people.
Uncertainty Reduction Theory
Lets you know how you should act within the group. Gives you a kind of a road map.
It reduces uncertainty so it leaves the people within the group with positive feelings.
To feel like we belong to a group we apply the stereotypes of the group to ourselves.
Ppl apply both good and bad sterotypes to themselves
Ex: Ppl may dumb themselves down for the group.
Black Sheep effect
When an ingroup member deviates from the norm it creates uncertainty about the positive image of our group.
When the ingroup member deviates they are talked to and put on the spot more than people who do the same thing outside of the group because they do not contribute to our image.
That why it is better to be judged by a member of an outgroup because they will not judge us as harshly.
How is self-knowledge organized?
It is organized in sections of your life so like the work, home, school etc.
Organization helps us feel good about ourselves bc we section things off and don't let it affect other areas of our lives
Ex: Bad Petco employee but good student so don't fee completely bad about self.
What are the two types of self-knowledge?
The different rules people use when thinking about themselves.
The way we make particular decisions
Ex: What am I going to wear today? I don't know why i picked what I picked but it has to do with who I am.
Declarative Self Knowledge
The content of self-experience, including the characteristics, traits, roles and so on that we use to describe ourselves.
Our collection of self-knowledge stored in our memory
Thoughts, beliefs, and memories of the self become organized and linked together in an association network.
Associative Network Models of the Self
A summary of ourselves of things we know we like or how we are (i.e. I like chocolate) and I know I like this stuff or am this way because of past behaviors but I really can't remember specific instances I just know they exist.
Ex: Winning the spelling bee and winning a chess tournament are linked to being smart so every time you think of those instances you also think of how smart you are.
A node in the network becomes activated when a person hears, sees, or thinks about the information the node represents
Activation then spreads from that node to adjacent nodes in the network along the associative links
Ex: Thinking of winning the spelling bee will activate thoughts of winning the chess tournament bc they are linked through the trait "smart"
Past experiences organize and guide the self related information
What we know about ourselves dictates what info we notice in other ppl and what we look for.
Ex: I have a new Honda Civic so now I notice that many other ppl also have Hinda Civics.
Self Schemas and Judgements of self Study
- Independence-schematics: Being independent is very important to them and it defies who they are.
-Dependence-schematics: Being dependent is very important to them and it defies who they are.
-Aschematics: Neither Independence or dependence is important.
Then they were presented with adjectives of traits of independence or dependence and they had to respond whether these words applied to them or not.
Usually ppl who thought that dependence was important to them responded more do dependent adjectives and vice versa with independence. They also responded much faster when given an dependent adjective then when given an independent adjective.
Self Schemas and Judgments of others Study
Fong and Markus (1982)
- Extravert-schematics: Being an extravert is very important to this person and it describes who they are.
- Introvert-schematics: Being an introvert is very important to this person and it helps describe who they are.
Subjects were asked to find out about another person
Subjects tended to ask more questions that were related to their schema( introverts were ask questions about being introverted) .
T his caused them to be more confidant when rating the person on schema related traits. Schematics are "experts" in their own domain.
Theory proposed by Linville
Some people have many different self aspects, which they keep distinct from each other. Each role ppl play in life, each goal they have, each activity they engage in has its own separate existence. Some of the traits may move from section to section but others may be completely different.
Linville Study (1985)
106 college students asked to sort trait adjectives to reflect their self-concepts in different roles
high self-complexity: lots of roles, little overlap
low self-complexity: fewer roles, more overlap
Self Complexity and well-being
Students completed self-complexity measure
Students reported current stressors (e.g., academic expectations, financial concerns, relationship difficulties)
Same measures 2 weeks later and measures of depression and illness
Low self-complexity: stress predicts illness
High self-complexity: stress does not predict illness
High self-complexity can be a buffer against the effects ofstress
Self Concept Clarity Scale
Measures the extent to which self-beliefs are clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and stable.
What are the effects of Self-concept clarity?
LOW SCORERS tend to have lower self-esteem,
ruminate more, and their self-descriptions are less stable over time.
HIGH SCORERS tend to have higher self-esteem,
more consistent self-descriptions, and less chronic self-analysis.
Working self concept
That part of the self that is salient and cognitively accessible at any given moment. We possess a lot of self-knowledge, but at any particular point in time we are only thinking about certain aspects of ourselves.
Ex: When I am at school the trait at the forefront of the mind are the school traits.
The Working Self-Concept - Markus & Kunda (1986)
The aspects of the self that are accessible/salient at any given time.
Self is both stable and malleable.
-Want to be Similar therefore slower to say ‘me’ to
uniqueness words; faster to say ‘me’ to similarity words
-Want to be Different therefore slower to say ‘me’ to
similarity words; faster to say ‘me’ to uniqueness words
Ppl don't like to feel too similar or too different.
What are possible schemas?
Hoped for self
Our memories about the self
Occur at different levels of specificity:
-Lifetime periods: general knowledge of significant others, common locations, actions, activities, plans, and goals, characteristic of a period.
-General events: encompass both repeated events (e.g., evening hikes to meadows) and single events (e.g., my trip to Paris).
-Event-specific knowledge: the event details that make up a single specific memory
It is very organized.
Our memories and experiences are organized in the form of a story – becomes a personal narrative or life story
Dan McAdams: Leading researcher in this area; argues that these life stories allow
people to derive meaning and make sense of their lives
What are 2 common themes in Personal Narratives?
Transformation of personal suffering into positive-affective life scenes that serve to redeem and justify one’s life
A very good or affectively positive life-narrative scene or chapter is followed by a very bad or negative outcome. The bad ruins the good that preceded it.
Self as a filter
The self can be thought of as a lens through which we view the world.
Self Reference Effect
The tendency to process efficiently and remember information related to oneself.
Ex: It will be easier to remember a list if you relate it to yourself and your likes and dislikes.
Rogers, Kuiper, and Kirker Study (1977)
Presented with 40 trait adjectives
Four processing questions:
-Structural (Big letters?)
-Phonemic (Rhymes with XXXX?)
-Semantic (Means the same as YYYY?)
-Self-reference (Describes you?)
(More elaboration as we go down the lsit)
Surprise recall task at the end
Geller and Shaver (1976)
We pay greater attention to self-relevant stimuli.
In this test people were asked to name the color of the word, not the actual word.
It was found that when doing this test ppl were slower at naming the color to word that actually described them.
The tendency to perceive, understand and interpret the world in terms of the self.
Ex: Ppl believe that their messages are interpreted the same through email and through phone because they over estimate their communication skills. People hear messages as they are intended and not as it was received.
Study done by Kruger, Epley, Parker and Ng proved this.
Illusion of Transperency
A tendency for ppl to overestimate the degree to which their personal mental state is known by others.
We have this belief that ppl can "see right through us"
This happens bc ppl are acutely aware of their internal estates( heart racing, sweaty palms) and they do not adjust to the idea that other people may not be privy to this information.
We are not as transparent as ppl think.
We tend to overestimate how noticeable we are and we think everybody is looking at us when that is not true.
Ex: going to eat alone, walking in to class late, an awkward stumble, ect.
We also tend to overestimate how much we are missed from a group.
Spotlight Effect Study
(Cilovich, Medvec, and Savitsky, 2000)
Subject asked to put on t-shirt picturing
-Barry Manilow (Study 1)
-Famous person of own choice (MLK, Seinfeld) (Study 2)
Walk into room where other subjects are filling out questionnaires
How many people noticed the t-shirt?
False Consensus Effect
When ppls own choices, attitudes or beliefs bias their estimates of those of other pppl, leading them to view their own reactions as relatively common.
Ex: I like Candy Corn so like 50% of ppl must also like Candy Corn (over estimation)
Failure of the part of most people to realize that others' share their own private reactions.
Ex: You believe you are the only one that doesn't understand the course material but it actually turns out the majority of the ppl are confused.
Magical Thinking: Why does such thinking occur
Belief in the ability to influence events at a distance with no known physical explanation
Example: Fantasizing about your competitor breaking her leg only to find out the next day that she actually did break her leg.
It might occur bc:
-Illusion of control: we like ti think we have control over events
-Use of mental shortcuts or heuristics: It is easier to believe that if I think something it will happen
The Role of the physical self
The body is closely tied to the processing pf social and emotional information
our body sensations serve as a source of information
Facial Feedback Hypothesis Study
Strack, Martin, Stepper (1988)
Participants were asked to hold pen either with their teeth or with their lips
Provided subjective ratings of the funniness of a cartoon
Participants in the Teeth condition reported significantly higher amusement ratings than those in the Lips condition
This occurs because face feels like we are smiling so the cartoons seem funnier.
Self Serving Category Representations
According to Dunning, we terms to define categories in self serving ways.
Ex: A good daughter is whatever we are:
Dependable, dutiful, obedient (what I am) vs. thoughtful, caring, loving (what my friend is)
Self Serving Attribution Bias
Tendency to attribute own positive behavior to own qualities but own negative behavior to situational qualities.
Self-Enhancing Bias: Taking responsibility for positive behavior
Self-Protecting Bias: Denying responsibility for negative behavior.
What are the causes for self-serving attribution bias?
Cognitive: Ppl expect to succeed and tend to attribute internal causes to expected events
Motivational: Ppl want to feel good about self
Temporal Self Appraisal Theory
Notion of self over time as string of selves, with varying psychological closeness to present self
Notion of improvement over time
People are motivated to think positively of themselves
Past selves provide for downward comparisons, regardless of whether objective improvement has occurred or not
Ex: We defend the self more if the self more if they are closer to us in time (last week) and can judge it more if time is more distant (5 yrs ago).
Positive Illusion about the Self
Unrealistically positive views of the self
Belief that one’s flaws are common, but strengths are unique
Exaggerated perceptions of personal control
Ppl tend to think that things will be better than they really are.
People are motivated to see themselves positively
-Recall information about successes better than failures
-Think of the self as better than average
-High explicit and implicit self-esteem
In general, our self-evaluations tend to be overly positive
Stable self views provide the individual with a sense of coherence
People think and behave in ways that promote the survival of their self-conceptions – even if their self-views are negative
Strategies for Self Verification
Developing an Opportunity Structure
-Displaying signs and symbols Ex: I have a UC Davis sticker, sweater and shirt to show I go here.
-Selective interaction Ex: Will prefer to talk to my younger sister about math then an engineer major because I will be smart to my sister but not to the engineer major
-Interpersonal prompts: Will guide a conversation so it goes in the direction I want so ppl learn what I want about me.
Seeing More Self-Confirmatory Evidence than Exists
-Attention: I will pay more attention to things that are self descriptive.
-Encoding/Retrieval: Will recall things to go along with the way I am now and If I change those memories will change too to fit how I am
-Interpretation:You will interpret the things ppl say in whatever way you want
Social Comparison Theory
We are driven to evaluate our opinions and abilities; Want to be accurate and confident
In the absence of objective assessments, we will evaluate our abilities by comparison with others
What are the types of Comparisons?
Upward – better than self
Downward – worse than self
Outcome of comparison
-Upward: feel worse about self
-Downward: feel better about self
Self Evaluation Maintenance Model
Reflection process – basking in the reflected glory of others
Comparison process – evaluating one’s performance in light of another’s
What determines the outcome of self-evaluation
-Closeness of the other
-Relevance of the domain
-Quality of the performance
When closeness is high and relevance is high and performance is low you feel bad about yourself
When closeness is high but relevance and performance are low you do not feel as bad because not as important to who you are.
Self Affirmation Theory
-People are motivated to maintain the integrity of the self
Integrity = the sense that, on the whole, one is a good and appropriate person
-People are vigilant to events and information that call their self-integrity into question
Ex: ppl get mad when something bad is written about them
-People try to restore or reassert the integrity of the self
What are the 3 categories people use to cope with threats to self-integrity?
Three categories of responses that people deploy to cope with threats to self-integrity:
1.Accommodate to the threat– i.e., accept the failure or negative information and instigate self-change Ex: Accept you failed and make sure to study real hard next time
2.Ameliorate the threat via directpsychological adaptations – e.g., dismissing or denying the threat
ex: There is something wrong with the score...I didn't really fail
3.Use the indirect psychological adaptation of affirmingalternative self-resources unrelated to the self-threat
Ex: you failed the chem test but you gave blood so that proves you are a good person so you feel good about yourself.